Former Mayer Brown partner Joseph P. Collins was sentenced Thursday to serve seven years in prison for helping Refco Inc. executives defraud investors of $2.4 million — crimes the judge said were motivated by “excessive loyalty” to his client.

Collins, 59, of Winnetka, Ill., who had sought a sentence of mostly community service, shook his head as Southern District of New York Judge Robert P. Patterson said that “the significance of what transpired here is the reason for the sentence.”

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